There is a common saying that goes, "Curiosity killed the cat." It is a very useful saying, teaching people not to make poor decisions that could ultimately lead to their demise. Unfortunately, some people allow their curiosities to get the better of them and it eventually consumes them. Kelly was one of those people.
Sunday October 31, 2004
It was Halloween, Kelly’s favorite time of the year. She thought it would be a good idea to decorate her front door with some cheap decorations, to let kids know she was handing out candy. At 12:35 PM, she drove to the local dollar store to buy Halloween candy and decorations. While browsing, she found a shelf full of old VHS tapes. As she looked through them, her eyes fell upon an old copy of Disney’s 1951 classic, Alice in Wonderland.
“Wow! I haven’t seen this movie in a long time,” she said to herself excitedly. Kelly decided to purchase it along with her candy and decorations. When she came back home, it was still too early for trick-or-treaters to be out, so she took some time to prepare her front door.
She continued decorating and filled a large pumpkin-shaped bowl with candy. By the time she was finished, it was nearly 4:00 PM.
She checked if there were any more decorations to put up. When she looked inside the plastic bag from the dollar store, she saw the Alice in Wonderland VHS box sitting all by itself.
“Oh, I forgot about this. Maybe I could watch it before trick-or-treaters arrive.” Kelly had a VCR/DVD player in her living room, so she opened up the box to watch the movie.
Something was strange about the tape. The movie’s logo was on the front, but it was as if someone had tried to scratch it off with a knife. Kelly figured it must have been a used copy.
As she took the movie out of the box, she noticed a strip of masking tape on the back of the video cassette with the words, “PLAY ME,” written very poorly, as if a child had written it.
“That’s weird. Maybe someone was trying to be cute at the dollar store,” she reassured herself.
She closed her curtains, turned the television on, turned the lights off, and put the tape into the VCR. Kelly was shrouded in darkness, perfect for watching a movie.
As the opening title cards were playing, Kelly laid herself down on the couch and was excited to be watching one of her favorite movies from her childhood. The movie started off normally with nothing out of the ordinary. The picture was a little faded, but it was tolerable for a used copy. For about ten minutes, the movie played just fine. When it got to the scene showing Alice inside the bottle she drank from, strips of static started appearing on the screen.
“What’s going on?” Kelly started getting frustrated. “Please don’t crap out on me.”
Suddenly, the entire screen went to static and the movie was gone.
“Oh, come on!” Kelly became angry and got up to see what was wrong with the tape. As she headed over to the television, the picture came back on. Only this time, it was not Alice in Wonderland. It was an old home video. Kelly was upset, but decided to not fast forward the tape. She was curious to see what the previous owner could possibly have recorded over the movie.
The picture quality was not very good. The footage looked like it came from a 1970’s home movie camera. The video was of a small group of children gathered around a table with a little girl sitting at the end of it. She had long auburn hair and she wore a dress similar to what Alice wore. They were all singing “Happy Birthday” to her and someone (most likely her mother) brought a cake out with lit candles and set it in front of the girl. As she blew the candles out, everyone started cheering.
Kelly thought it was strange for someone to record this girl’s birthday over the movie, but she kept watching to see what would happen next. As she made her way back to the couch, the video jumped to the children chasing each other in a game of tag out in a large field.
After about two minutes of tag, the video suddenly cut to static. It made Kelly’s heart skip a beat. She laughed it off and continued watching the movie. After a few seconds, Alice in Wonderland was playing again. It started as Alice left Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee in the woods. For a few minutes, nothing happened to the movie.
When Alice met the talking flowers and listened to them sing, the video cut to static again.
As the picture became apparent, it showed the same children from earlier playing Ring Around the Rosie with the birthday girl in the middle of them. They were in the same field that they were playing tag in moments before. The camera filming it all was at a high angle, possibly from a two-story window.
Unlike the previous video segment, this one had no sound. The children were constantly spinning around the little girl, holding their hands together in a giant ring. After about a minute of silence, Kelly could barely hear children’s voices whispering simultaneously.
This is what she heard:
“Ring around dear Alice
Her heart is filled with malice
She soon shall die”
Kelly was disturbed by the horrific rhyme.
The video suddenly cut off with loud static. Kelly gasped and held her hand to her chest.
She thought it would be wise to stop watching the movie, but she felt that she just had to know what was on the rest of the tape. As the movie came back on at the scene where Alice meets the blue caterpillar, Kelly sat herself up and continued watching. The video continued playing normally until it got to the Mad Tea Party.
Before the Mad Hatter and March Hare could sing “A Very Merry Unbirthday”, the video jumped to static again. Kelly felt a lump forming in her throat.
There was sound this time, but the image was distorted and hard to distinguish. Kelly could hear a little girl’s voice.
“Mommy, I’m not lying. There’s a monster that hides in my room. I can’t sleep because it watches me at night. Please, you have to believe me!” she seemed very upset, almost to the point of tears.
“I am sick of hearing this,” her mother said angrily. “You are eight years old. There are no such things as monsters. You should know better.”
“THAT’S IT! I’VE HAD ENOUGH,” her mother screamed at the top of her lungs. Kelly could hear the girl sobbing softly as the mother stomped her feet. Suddenly, the picture shook violently and became clear.
The video was of the little girl sitting in a chair staring at the floor. She had tears rolling down her face and looked as if she had been beaten. Bruises covered her arm and face.
“Mommy, what are you doing?” At this time, the girl looked very worried, dreading what her mother was about to do. In a few moments, her mother walked towards her, her head cut off by the edge of the screen. In her hand was a small knife.
Kelly’s heart pounded in her chest, but she couldn’t take her eyes off the screen.
The girl’s mother took the knife in one hand, grabbed the girl’s cheeks, and forced her to stick out her tongue.
“I am going to scrape those lies off your tongue!” With that, she placed the sharp edge of the knife into the girl’s mouth and quickly scraped it across her tongue. The girl screamed in agonizing pain. Kelly could see slivers of bloody tongue fall onto the floor. She suddenly felt nauseous. She got up, ran to the kitchen sink, and vomited.
As Kelly washed out her mouth, the video went to a piercing static, making her scream.
She slowly crept back to the couch, keeping her eyes glued on the screen. The movie came back to Alice walking away from the tea party disgruntled with the Mad Hatter and March Hare.
However bad the video segments were, Kelly felt she had to find out who was filming these terrible things happening to this little girl.
The movie got to the scene with Alice getting lost in the Tulgey Wood. Again, the screen filled with static. It only lasted a few seconds before cutting to a video of the girl sitting on the front edge of a bed, crying into her hands. The room she was in was very dark. Everything behind her was cast in shadow. For nearly three minutes, she just sat there, crying. Not once did she look up.
Every few seconds, she would stop and say, “Nobody loves me.”
After a while, a door opened off camera, letting a dim light enter the room. Slowly, a shadowed figure entered the room and floated towards the girl. She looked at the figure and her eyes shot wide open. She began to plead, “NO! PLEASE!” Her cries were abruptly severed by the deafening static. Kelly screamed out loud and covered her eyes.
After the static died down, she gained the courage to open her eyes. The movie came back on with Alice going into the Queen of Heart’s courtyard. All the bright colors and silly moments of the film could not stir Kelly out of her deep-seeded fear.
Kelly began to gain hope that the hellish video segments were over and she could watch the rest of the movie in peace.
As the trial scene approached, the picture gradually faded to static. Kelly’s heart dropped and she started sobbing. This time, the static lasted over two minutes. Kelly’s heart raced in anticipation of the upcoming video.
When the static disappeared, there was…nothing. The living room was filled with a deafening silence. Kelly became short of breath and started hyperventilating. For several seconds, there was complete silence. Kelly thought the movie was over, but the tracker on the VCR said the tape was still playing.
After a short while, Kelly could hear something. It sounded like children whispering. She could not make out what they were saying. Kelly panicked when she noticed a dark picture slowly developing on the screen.
It was a photo of the little girl sitting on the edge of the bed again, secluded in darkness. This time, she was not crying.
She was staring straight at Kelly through the screen.
Her eyes were bloodshot from so much crying. The look on her face was of pure horror, her eyes shouting:
The only light in the girl’s bedroom seemed to be coming from the glow of Kelly’s television. The image was so clear, that they could have easily been sitting in the same room.
Kelly could hear the little girl crying again.
However, she was still glaring at her through the screen, not moving an inch.
As Kelly looked past the girl’s shoulder, she made out what appeared to be a faint set of crooked teeth fixed in a smile. The teeth appeared to be human, but were elongated and stretched out too wide to be from an actual person’s mouth.
Voices joined in like a maddening chorus. Voices of all kinds could be heard whispering:
“Off with her head…”
Over the next minute, the little girl’s crying and the voices grew louder and more hysterical. Kelly had to cover her ears.
Suddenly, everything fell silent. Her heart pounded as she uncovered her ears.
One final, deep voice said menacingly:
“Off with her head…”
Static flashed over the image for a fraction of a second. The picture began to move. The little girl’s head slowly fell forward as if she was going to cry again. It drooped lower and lower until…
it rolled right off her shoulders and onto the floor.
The instant her head fell off, her bloodcurdling scream filled the room as Kelly covered her ears in terror. She screamed as loud as she could until the video cut to static one last time and the ending credits of the movie started rolling.
Kelly could not speak. She was traumatized as she stared at the blank screen. By this time, it was 5:15 PM.
As Kelly slowly started to get up, she kept her eyes on the screen to make sure nothing else was going to show up on it.
Her concentration was broken by the sound of her doorbell ringing. She screamed and shot her head around to see her front door.
“Just breathe, Kelly. You are all right. Everything’s okay. Just relax.” Kelly collected herself, turned on the lights, then headed for the door.
“It’s just an early trick-or-treater.” Before opening the door, something told her to look through the peephole first. When she did, what she saw froze her.
On her doorstep was a little girl with her head down. She was wearing an Alice dress.
“Calm down, Kelly. You’re just a little freaked out from the movie. It’s only a kid in an Alice costume.” She grabbed the candy bowl and opened her front door. When she got ready to hand out the candy, she dropped the candy bowl in horror.
The little girl had vanished.
Kelly trembled terribly as she picked up the candy, put it all back into the bowl and slammed the door behind her.
“You have to relax. You’re just seeing things.” When she put the bowl back down on the kitchen table, the television cut to a loud static. Kelly screamed and turned towards the living room. Tears rolled down her face.
Written on the wall above the television in blood were the words:
OFF WITH YOUR HEAD
Kelly frantically tried to get out the front door.
The door was locked.
Suddenly, she could hear something clawing at the door violently like a bear. She looked through the peephole again.
She saw nothing but black.
As if a fuse broke, all the lights in her house went out at once. She was submerged in total darkness. She could see absolutely nothing. Except…
At the end of the narrow hallway, there was something near her bedroom door. It was…a faint set of gnarled teeth fixed in a smile. Kelly was paralyzed with fear.
The smile slowly floated towards Kelly. She tried to run away, but found herself unable to move. In a moment, the shadow monster was right in her face. She could smell the horrible stench of rotting flesh on its breath. It whispered to her:
“Off with your head…”
Later that same night, a girl by the name of Abby Lawrence had just finished trick-or-treating in her fairy costume. She was ten and her mother let her go by herself with her friends for the first time. She and her mother lived about a block away from Kelly. When she returned home, her mother gave her a big hug and helped her get ready for bed.
“Did you have fun trick-or-treating with your friends, Abby?”
“Yeah! My bag is full of candy. It will probably last me until next Halloween,” said Abby.
“I’m glad you had fun, sweetheart.”
“Hey mom. You’ve got to see this.” Abby ran to her bag of Halloween candy…
and pulled out a copy of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland on VHS.
“Where did you get that?” Her mother asked.
“One of the houses I went to had it in a candy bowl. The bowl was empty, but this movie was in it.” She could barely control her excitement.
“Can we watch it tonight? Pretty please?”